The International Monetary Fund (IMF) recently conducted a review on Guyana’s economy and its initial thoughts are that the country is in a stable condition. But Opposition Leader Bharrat Jagdeo does not lend any credence to that statement. In fact, the PPP General Secretary at his press conference today noted that the IMF’s statement and its overall report on the country are usually “whitewashed”.

In this regard, he noted that the true damage done to the economy by the Granger-led administration is not reflected in the IMF’s statement which was released on Monday.

Expounding further on this issue, Jagdeo related that he met with the IMF a few weeks ago and told the team in no uncertain terms that he hopes he is not participating in a public relations exercise. The politician said he was done with that sort of engagement. Jagdeo said he informed the team that the PPP, in the last few years, would consistently highlight major issues affecting the country and has seen that they are not reflected in the financial institution’s initial statement and final report.

Be that as it may, the Opposition Leader said he informed the IMF about the rapid growth in recurrent expenditure under this current dispensation which does not support the creation of businesses, jobs, or the improvement of education, health, and housing. Jagdeo said that this expenditure deals with perks and privileges, which reach billions of dollars, for the government. He also spoke about the issues affecting the sugar industry and shared his strategies with the IMF for reopening closed estates in a cost-effective way.

Further to this, Jagdeo said that he told the IMF about the government’s poor respect for the principle of transparency and accountability. On this note, Jagdeo said that while the IMF usually reviews a country’s balance of payment activities and doesn’t typically get involved in governance issues, one should find it telling when it does make mention of matters like transparency. In this regard, he highlighted an aspect of the Fund’s concluding statement which stated, “The mission encourages building on recent progress in strengthening transparency and governance…”

Jagdeo then added, “So we spoke extensively on this issue and how the government has been corrupt and has violated all the rules. I gave them instances of the wanton breaches of the tendering process and how they are putting public money and loans at risk.”

Jagdeo also spoke about the Fund’s comments on Guyana’s current account deficit which revealed corrosion of the nation’s trade relationship with the rest of the world.

The IMF said that in 2018, the current account deficit rose to 17.5 percent of GDP, from 6.8 percent of GDP in 2017. Jagdeo said that this is a massive deterioration that should not be overlooked.

The Opposition Leader was also flippant about the IMF’s comment that there was an improved performance for 2018 and 2019 is expected to continue this trend with a 4.4 percent growth projection. Jagdeo noted that the real economic growth is only driven by the construction and services sectors ahead of oil production in 2020, insinuating that the non-oil growth would tell a different story.

Jagdeo reiterated that he does not pay too much heed to the IMF’s report as it has to get the government’s approval before release. He insists that it conceals the truth about the damage done to the economy.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here